Thursday, March 5, 2009

Collars and Cuffs

When you're picking out a shirt, you have several decisions to make, mainly the type of collar and the type of cuff. Material should be a consideration well. Some collars and cuffs don't work with some suits and ties. A collar can compliment your face shape and give variety to your look, even if you only have one or two suits to rotate. Here is a primer on the basic choices you have on your shirts and how they can help you look your best.

There are 3 basic collar choices (with variations on each that make for more options):

The Button Down Collar:
This is the least dressy of the 3 choices mentioned here. If you're wearing it with a suit, you should pick a broadcloth material. An oxford cloth is more casual and isn't your best choice for a suit. Medium width ties go well with this collar.

The Straight Point Collar:
Probably the most common of collars. Conservative and safe. Goes with pretty much anything and is a great go-to shirt. Works with all tie sizes and knots, and is probably your best choice if you're going to wear a narrow or skinny tie.

The Spread Collar: The most confident and stylish of the 3. Looks great with medium and wide ties. Looks great with a four-in-hand knot or a windsor knot.

There are also 3 basic kinds of cuff to consider (also with other iterations that usually fit into one of these molds):

The Single Button Cuff: The standard. Definitely the most common, and on less expensive shirts, this is probably the cuff you'll get. But it's nice and simple and goes with whatever.

The French Cuff: The most daring. Also the most formal, although you can successfully dress a french cuff shirt down if the links are right (subtle and subdued). Do it right and it's a nice, classy look.

The two-button Barrel Cuff: A great look. These cuffs look especially nice with the modern, streamlined suit, but they look good with anything.